We need also to focus on global soft power when discussing Europe post-Brexit and when implementing the EU Global Strategy.
Instability outside the borders of the Europe brings more instability to the Europe itself and vice versa.
We can protect ourselves but not fully, as shown by terrorist acts creating havoc in European countries. Europe also needs to interact with the world not least through trade. And the necessity of globalisation has not been an issue in the UK referendum where many have pointed to an increasing need for interaction in the Commonwealth.
Security is a requirement for globalisation. As can be shown in many countries there is also need for positive perceptions on the part of the population. Citizens of European countries need to be at least tolerated by residents when being present on the ground in different capacities, doing business, as aid workers et cetera.
To a certain extent, this is an issue of soft power, of perceptions through the media. It is clear that weaknesses in the support of Europe and the EU inside the continent risk projecting less positive images of Europe to the outside. It should be noted that the Leave campaign in the UK did not only focus on the EU but a number of other European countries being arguably less democratic and more bureaucratic than the UK.
The discourse on popular referenda will now continue inside the European Union with heightened intensity.
For the UK the net effect of the referendum is clearly a huge loss also in terms of soft power. It is possible that this will also be the outcome of future referenda in Europe of a similar nature. Losses on the part of individual European countries risk quickly to translate into losses on the level of the European Union and the level of the West. And since the West has an indispensable role for peace and prosperity in the world this is a bad development.
The last public opinion poll in Sweden taken after the Brexit referendum showing a strong support for the European Union membership may reflect this wisdom.
We need to think about this when discussing the EU Global Strategy, which will come on the table in the coming days.
More is at stake than risking shooting ourselves in the foot.
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